December 8, 2017 - 20 Kislev 5778 - Vayashev
ES Highlights
Welcome
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
First Grade Field Trip
Mouth Guards Needed for Gym
Chanukah Oil Factory
Grade 5 Principals' Coffee
Understanding Our Differences
STEM Resources
Tzionut
Basketball Tournament
Special Movie Screening
Town Hall Meetings
ROFEH Toy Drive
Family Learning
Mazel Tov!
Lost and Found
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Sunday, Dec. 17
Family Learning

Monday, Dec. 25-Monday, Jan. 2
Winter Vacation
No School
 
As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
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Welcome!
Dear Parents,

We had another great week at school!
 
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events.  


 
D'var Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman
 
Towards the end of this week's parasha, Yosef interprets the dream of the sar hamashkim (wine bearer) with a positive outcome. He then requests from his cellmate that when the dream comes to fruition and he is released:
כִּ֧י אִם־זְכַרְתַּ֣נִי אִתְּךָ֗ כַּאֲשֶׁר֙ יִ֣יטַב לָ֔ךְ וְעָשִֽׂיתָ־נָּ֥א עִמָּדִ֖י חָ֑סֶד וְהִזְכַּרְתַּ֙נִי֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה וְהוֹצֵאתַ֖נִי מִן־הַבַּ֥יִת הַזֶּֽה׃
But think of me when all is well with you again, and do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh, so as to free me from this place.
 
The Radak explains that Yosef felt he was able to ask for this favor because:
כאשר ייטב לך, ותעלה, הדין לזכרני בטובתך, לעשות עמי טובה, כי על ידי פתרוני באה לך בשורה טובה ושמחתיך בעצבך וראוי לך שתטיב לי כשיקויים פתרוני.
When your situation improves, it is fair that you should remember me in your time of fortune and do me a favor. Because through my interpretation your sorrow was alleviated when you heard the good news of your approaching release and reinstatement. When my interpretation will have proven itself, it's fitting for you to perform hakarat hatov to me by mentioning my case to Pharaoh so that he will release me also.
 
The sar hamashkim is soon released, and he has the opportunity to show his hakarat hatov to Yosef. But the parasha reports:
וְלֹֽא־זָכַ֧ר שַֽׂר־הַמַּשְׁקִ֛ים אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף וַיִּשְׁכָּחֵֽהוּ      
Yet the chief cupbearer did not think of Yosef; he forgot him.
 
How could the sar hamashkim forget about Yosef and his good interpretation when he had the opportunity to repay the favor? Being released from a possible death sentence, and then returned to a glorified position as the king's butler, is an experience that a person would always remember. How could he forget his interaction with Yosef?
 
The Bechor Shor offers two options:
לא שם לבו עליו ושכחו וי"מ ולא זכר מיד ושכחו לאחר זמן
Either he did not try to remember and he forgot, or he did not remember right away and he forgot.
 
As we continue to learn about hakarat hatov, an important element is to act immediately upon one's feelings of gratitude. There are numerous obstacles and pitfalls which can derail one's good intentions when one does not act right away. One lesson we can learn from the sar hamashkim is to always express hakarat hatov instantly, no matter how special or unforgettable the event. You never know when you will have the opportunity again, or whether you will actually remember when the chance presents itself.
 
After discussing this idea with the 3rd - 5th grade students, they offered the following insights:
 
Perhaps the sar hamashkim forgot because he was so excited to be released from jail that he forgot about Yosef's prediction and request. Sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to say "thank you" to those who helped us succeed.
 
Another answer offered was that Yosef didn't really help the sar hamashkim regain his freedom. Yosef interpreted the dream, but in reality didn't secure his release. Perhaps the sar hamashkim didn't believe that a promise or an assurance of hope was worthy of demonstrating gratitude. The lesson is that even intangible good feelings deserve a "thank you."
 
Ask your children about other possibilities.
  
 
 
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman
 
In his book Vision and Leadership, the Rav writes that the downfall of Yosef and his brothers was not necessarily caused by jealousy. Rather, its cause was their lack of appreciation for one of the most precious gifts that G-d has granted to humans: The sense of unity that members of a family feel for each other, which should express itself in love and devotion.
 
The brothers and Yosef should have appreciated each other, their relationships, and their differences.  They should have created a unified family, with all their personalities and differences contributing to the greater whole. 
 
Because they were unable to show gratitude to Hashem by appreciating their individuality and creating a strong family unit, they were punished with separation.
   
Pinat HaParasha
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Vayashev. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
 
 
First Grade Field Trip
The first graders culminated their unit on the solar system with a trip to the Museum of Science. Students had some time to explore the museum before heading to a show at the Planetarium. During a guided tour of the solar system, the students were able to pick two planets to visit. They chose the "red planet" (Mars) and the largest planet (Jupiter). The class "landed" on Mars and got to see what it might have looked like 200 billion years ago. They also were able to "fly" through the giant storm on Jupiter and see what it might look like from the inside. Students got to share their knowledge of our solar system, as well as gain more of a visual perspective. A wonderful time was had by all!  
 
 
Floor Hockey Unit in Physical Education
Please Send Mouth Guards
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will be starting their floor hockey unit in gym class after winter break, and it will last approximately three weeks. The school will provide eye protection (goggles/ masks), and it is advised to send a mouth guard for your child to use during this unit. Mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.

Chanukah Oil Factory
This week the third and fourth grades had a special opportunity to learn how oil is made in preparation for Chanukah. Our friends from Chabad visited  on Thursday  and demonstrated how oil is pressed, and the process that follows in order to prepare the oil. Following the presentation, all students had the opportunity to make their own chanukiot, which they can use for Chanukah. Many thanks to the PTA for sponsoring this program!
 
 
 
 
 
Grade 5 Principals' Coffee
Our fifth grade Principals' Coffee took place Wednesday morning with several parents, Rabbi David Saltzman, and Mrs. Reena Slovin attending.  We were joined by first grade teacher Dani Carrus, Team Leader of our new David Sulman Computer Science Initiative.
 
Thanks to a generous grant given by Morah Rose-Jane in memory of her late husband, we have been able to train teachers and create a scope and sequence of computer science and engineering learning, beginning in the 4-year-old Early Childhood classroom and advancing through fifth grade.  At the fifth-grade level, students are using Scratch and focusing on the second coding unit of Code.org. These programs are much more sophisticated than those used in the lower grades, and they use symbols, numbers, and words rather than pictures. The fifth graders have already learned the basics of these tools, and continue to develop the component skills during their science classes with small projects such as programming butterflies to fly.
 
With Morah Dani's coaching, the fifth grade teachers are further cultivating the students' computer science and engineering skills, integrating them into special projects related to both general and Judaic studies  content. In science class they will be building cars for the Science and Engineering Fair; in limudei kodesh, they will be using the engineering process for Egyptian brick making; and in general studies, they will use Scratch to create animated presentations for their Titanic unit.
 
We spoke about the transition from fifth grade to Middle School.  We hope to have a parent informational evening, as well as a program for students to engage in activities together with the Middle Schoolers. These programs are in the early planning stages.  Every year, the main sixth grade teachers, Mrs. Samuels and Rabbi Beker, come over to meet with the fifth graders to orient them to what to expect next year and to answer questions.  The entire sixth and fifth grade teams then meet together during the June faculty days to discuss student needs for the following year.
 
We also reminisced about the recent Teva trip, commenting on how well it went and how valuable this intensive experiential learning experience was in order for the students to grow, both as individuals and as a group.  Many students who'd never spent a night away from home found themselves successfully living with their peers and taking care of themselves in ways they hadn't done before.
 
Understanding Our Differences
On Tuesday the 4th graders participated in the Understanding Our Differences program, focusing on the topic of Learning Differences. After an introduction by Gateways education specialist Gary Alpert, the students were divided into three groups for activities. At one station they had to write their names in English and Hebrew by only looking in a mirror. At another station the students made sentences without using the letter n. At the third station, the students tested their short-term memory. During each activity, the students experienced what it was like to have a particular learning challenge in order to be more sensitive to those who learn in different ways.  
 


STEM Resources
Here are some great ways you can work on coding at home with your child!

ScratchJr - for kids ages 5+, created by MIT Media Lab and Tufts University
       App for Android or iPad

Scratch - for kids ages 9+, created by MIT Media Lab and Tufts University
        On the computer, Android, or iPad

Tynker - for kids ages 8+ 
        On the computer, Android, or iPad

KIBO robotics - for kids ages 4+, created by KinderLab Robotics and Tufts University 

WEDO robotics - for kids ages 7+, created by Lego

 
Tzionut
This week the shlichot visited the 4th and 5th grades for their second tzionut class.  They spoke about this year's tzionut theme, "70 years to Israel - then and now," and about the Israel Defense Force.  Students learned about the underground secret forces who operated in Israel before the state was esteblished, how they became the Israel Defense Force in 1948, and what the Israeli army is like today.  The shlichot also talked about tironut (basic training), friendship, and how to work together. 


 
Basketball Tournament This Weekend 
Maimonides School is the center of the Jewish basketball universe this weekend, as the school's boys' and girls' teams host student-athletes from Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York at the annual Maimonides School Invitational Basketball Tournament in Memory of Leland Gelman.
 
The competition started Thursday night and the games continued this morning.  Maimonides teams will continue to compete on Motza'ei Shabbat and Sunday. The teams will be hosted on Shabbat by the Maimonides Kehillah; Rabbi Steven Weil, senior managing director of the Orthodox Union, will speak here on Friday night. The complete schedule of games and other details can be found at www.maimohoops.org.
 
Another tournament feature will be a silent auction, raising money to offset weekend expenses. Highlights include a pair of New England Patriots opening-game playoff tickets and a baseball signed by both Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. Bidding will begin during the Saturday night game and conclude early Sunday afternoon at the boys' championship game.


Special Movie Screening on Sunday 
There will be a special screening of the movie My Hero Brother on Sunday, December 10 at 6:00 p.m. at West Newton Cinema, co-sponsored by Maimonides School, Young Israel of Sharon, New England Yachad, and Striar Hebrew Academy.
My Hero Brother tells the remarkable story of a group of young people with Down syndrome who embark on a demanding trek through the Indian Himalayas with their siblings. As they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts come to the surface and heartwarming friendships develop.
 
Click here to purchase tickets. For more information, contact  juliesgaller@gmail.com   


Town Hall Meeting in Sharon on Monday 
The Maimonides School Board of Directors
invites parents to a
Town Hall Meeting
 
Steven Schwartz, Board Chair, and Naty Katz, Head of School, look forward to meeting with you, listening to your suggestions and concerns, and benefiting from this opportunity for open dialogue.

These meetings are intended to focus on the non-academic issues within the purview of the Board such as day school affordability, financial matters, and other topics of interest to the community.     
 
Town Hall Meetings will take place:
  • Monday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Sharon -  click here to respond
  • Wednesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Brookline - click here to respond

Please check your e-mail for full details of the meeting locations, or write to communication@maimonides.org for more information.
 
There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion during the meetings. To help us prepare, we encourage you to submit questions in advance to  chairman@maimonides.org
 
We look forward to an evening of engaging conversation with you.

ROFEH Toy Drive Ends Monday 
Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for our ROFEH Toy Drive! Boxes will be placed in front of the Elementary, Middle, and Upper School offices.


Family Learning on Sunday, December 17

 
Mazel Tov!

Send us your simchas!  Please share your simcha announcement s with us by send ing details to info@maimonides.org.
 
 
Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
With the arrival of cold weather, we have found more and more jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, hats, and gloves left outside at recess and in other public spaces in the building.  We have amassed a large collection of high-quality, fairly new winter clothing, none of them bearing any students' names. 

We request again that you put your child's names on their items so that we can easily return them when found.  Most jackets and coats come with sewn-in labels which only require a Sharpie to write your child's name.

We plan to donate all remaining unclaimed items during the winter break.

         
  
Social Time!
There's so much going on here at Maimo! Be sure to check out our social media to get the inside scoop (with lots of great photos) on happenings at school.  
 
 
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

See What's Happening in the Other Divisions
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at what's happening in the other divisions, click to visit the Early Childhood Center, Middle School, or Upper School newsletter pages.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

 
!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty